Focus on diversity of owners rather than tech-related product

Photo Credit: PDC - Six startups will get a year of rent free office space at the old New Market Theater in Old Town. The Portland Development Commission has announced the winners of 2014 Startup PDX Challenge.

The six winners, all from the Portland metropolitan area, are:

Yellow Scope, a creator of rigorous science kits just for girls;

RAFT Syrups, which brews organic botanical and cane sugar syrup for cocktails and home soda making;

Society Nine, a fight gear and activewear apparel brand for women;, a technology solution to rental market problems for landlords and tenants;

Design + Culture Lab, a research-based urban social lab addressing issues of cultural, racial and ethnic inequality, and

Tique Box, a subscription service for specialty items from local artisans.

Each company will receive a package valued at $50,000, with a $15,000 working capital grant, a full year of rent-free office space at 115 SW Ash St in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown, and free professional advice, memberships and services.

The Challenge winners will move into the Old Town/Chinatown space in early October; a meet and greet event on Thursday, September 25 will welcome them to the neighborhood.

This year’s Challenge focused on finding entrepreneurs with diverse founding teams and the ambition to scale to a national or international market.

Patrick Quinton, PDC Executive Director, said, “We were thrilled with the response to this year’s call for diverse founding teams that will help us develop a more inclusive innovation community. We look forward to welcoming the winning entrepreneurs to our expanding network of experienced, innovative companies competing in the global economy.”

In addition to the six winners, five companies have been named merit finalists and will each receive a package valued at $4,000.

The merit finalists are Genki Su, GRASP, VDO Interpreters and Carehubs from the Portland area. And ICOM of Atlanta, GA, which was also the winner of the public vote.

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